What do you do when your God is silent?
What do you do when you appeal to your God and get nothing—nothing—in return?
That’s what the generals in the war were facing. All nations feel that God is on their side in wartime. In this case, the generals of this particular nation appealed to their God and often received only stony silence as an answer. Even when they addressed the God directly, politely and respectfully requesting approval or disapproval of their war plans, the God would sometimes only offer one-word answers with no other details or comments. This frustrated the war leaders. Surely, the God would wish to comment on the plans! Sadly, for them, few words from the God were forthcoming.
The war was going badly. The generals wanted to continue the war, but the enemy was too powerful, had better weapons, and their own resources were dwindling. So, as many nations do, they went before their God and bowed, low, hoping that in their humility, their God would give them some indication as to the right course to take for the country they loved and were fighting for.
The people began to suffer. Shortages of food and housing, clean water and medical supplies, basic life necessities could not be ignored any longer. Something had to be done. The people were being lied to by the government; they were being told that the God had great plans for a victory that would save them all and restore the proud nation to glory again.
Part of the problem seemed to be those special few who were taking the generals’ petitions to the God. Tradition dictated that no one except specific individuals could speak to the God on behalf of the people or, often, even on behalf of the generals. On the other hand, one would expect a God to know what was happening without having to be told what was happening, right? Yet, some in the nation blamed the messengers for not accurately depicting the harsh realities of the situation to the nation’s God.
The war situation proved to be untenable.
The war was lost.
The generals, summoning all their courage for the survival of the nation, demanded that the God accept the humiliating defeat that was being handed to them. They asked the God to speak directly to the people. The announcement from the God was to be met with great respect by the people. The nation was ordered to stand for the announcement and to put on their best clothing out of respect for the God.
And so, on August 15, 1945, for the first time in the history of their nation, the people heard the voice of their Emperor and their God, Hirohito, as he announced on the radio the surrender of the Japanese Empire to the Allies.